San Miguel Alab Pilipinas take aim at a possible sixth straight win as they go up against the Saigon Heat this Sunday at the Lapu-Lapu Sports Complex in Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines.
The defending champions are formidable when they play on their own backyard, drawing support and motivation from their crowd as they boast a perfect 9-0 record at home.
Renaldo Balkman has been putting up stellar numbers for the Philippine squad. Balkman garnered the most votes in the MVP midseason awards and he’s currently putting up averages of 25.9 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks. He is coming off a 34-point explosion in a win against the Wolf Warriors.
Alab has a league-best 11-2 record but right on its heels are the Saigon Heat with a 10-6 card.
The Heat have cooled down since their midseason hot streak and have now lost back-to-back games. In their recent loss to Hong Kong Eastern, Trevon Hughes found himself misfiring to finish with just 16 points on 5-for-19 shooting. He came into the ball game hoisting up close to 23 points per game but struggled from the field against Eastern. Hughes, together with fellow World Imports Murphy Burnatowski needs to have a big game to topple the defending champions.
Kyle Barone, Saigon’s double-double machine, will not be available for the Heat in this game but they have a capable replacement in DeAngelo Hamilton who also stepped in for the squad when Hughes was injured.
It’ll be interesting to see also if reigning back-to-back Local MVP Ray Parks will be back in action for Alab. He’s been out for three consecutive games nursing a groin injury. He was a game-time decision against the Wolf Warriors earlier this week. Fortunately for the Philippines, Lawrence Domingo has stepped up in his stead. The undersized forward collected 12 points and seven boards in the win over the Wolf Warriors. Domingo has somewhat taken a back seat this season after Alab added guys like Brandon Rosser and Caelen Tiongson, but the third-year veteran remains a reliable source of hustle and energy for his squad.
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas are eager to defend home court once again while the Saigon Heat will hope to spoil the party and get the much-needed road win.